Author Topic: tour with small children  (Read 28278 times)

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Offline chilihawk

tour with small children
« on: February 22, 2009, 09:43:53 pm »
We are ready to take our kids, 2 and 4 yrs, on their first bike tour. They love to bike and to camp so we are excited to introduce them to the idea of combining the two. The 2 yo rides in a Burley and 4 yo on a tagalong. We're looking for tips on planning such a tour with kids. We're planning to start at Harpers' Ferry and ride up the C&O Canal trail to one of the hiker/biker campgrounds.

One question is packing the gear. we had to take the rear rack off the bike that will pull the tagalong so that it would attach to the seatpost, although there still is a front rack on that bike. It seems unfair to load down the bike pulling the Burley with most/all the gear.  Any ideas for hauling gear? 

Besides their lovey's, anything else that is recommended as essential to pack for little ones? Plus any other suggestions?

Laura & Steve

Offline jimbeard

Re: tour with small children
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2009, 09:38:25 am »

Offline tpejoe

Re: tour with small children
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2010, 07:55:08 am »
I took this ride last year and it is a great ride to do with kids.
I suggest you take both kids in the burley.
My 4 year old really didn't want the responsibility of hanging on to handle bars, pedalling.


Re: tour with small children
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 09:57:36 pm »
@chilihawk -- did you enjoy your tour with your little ones?

would love to hear about your experience!
Follow along with our year-long family bicycle tour at, with real-time updates on Twitter @pedalpoweredfam

Offline gypsysue

Re: tour with small children
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2012, 02:59:32 pm »
This thread seems to have fizzled out but I'm hoping to rejuvenate it.

After our kids were grown I got into long-distance bicycling and touring, and talking my husband into going along for some of it.  Now we're both getting more enthusiastic, but guess what?

We acquired a grandson to raise last fall, and he's 14 months old now.  We would still like to make some rides this summer, a few days to a few weeks at a time, since 'time' is something we have a lot of on our hands.

He'll be 18 to 22 months old over the summer months.  We have an exellent child seat for the back of one of our bicycles (haven't decided which of us yet!).  Do you think that's too young for that many hours on the road?  We'd stop every couple hours and let him get out and play/run around.  We live in the west where traffic is pretty lght throughout the state. 

Right now we take him out in the baby backpack on long hikes, and carry him in the baby backpack while we go about our work, when he's not loose running around our house, playing.  He's done well with that.  We're hoping it carries over to time on the bicycle.

Or do you think we should wait another year or two?
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 03:02:18 pm by gypsysue »

Offline whitebirch

Re: tour with small children
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 09:58:56 am »
I'd say give it a try, but be flexible with how it all goes. 

We took our then-two-year-old on an overnight bike trip three years ago.  Not the greatest experience, but I'm glad we tried it.  She did much better at 3 and 4. 

I would suggest stopping every hour or so, not every two hours, and having very modest mileage goals. 

Also, food bribery is allowed on bike trips.  We've found that a granola bar or a bag of gorp (with M&M's of course!) or dried fruit can be an instant kill switch on fussiness!  Just keep plying them with treats, healthy and otherwise, and it'll keep things much more fun.  And marshmallows at the campsite are a must!

Rob Levin

Offline BrianW

Re: tour with small children
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 10:15:23 am »
For longer rides, I highly suggest ditching the kid seat and getting a one-kid trailer like the Burley Solo or Chariot. First, they are safer. They also give the child much more "play"room where they can have books, stuffed animals, small toys, etc. Also easier for napping. Our son loved riding in his trailer, even on longer rides.

We also found that cars seemed more respectful of us when we were pulling the trailer (with the flag attached) compared with riding on bikes with no trailer.

Offline gypsysue

Re: tour with small children
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 03:21:43 pm »
Wow, I'd been thinking the little guy would prefer to be up close to me, in the child seat on my bicycle.  But now I see the benefits of using a trailer.  I hadn't thought of him being able to have the entertainment of toys, books, snacks, etc. in the trailer.  We used to have a trailer, years ago, when our kids were small, and it zipped all the way closed, with a screen front.  Great idea.  I'll have to do some shopping.

I also like the idea of not having the child seat on the bicycle for long rides.  Then I can pack my bike the way I usually do.  I have a BOB trailer and the hitch works fine on my bike even with the rack/panniers I have.  A Burley should work okay too.

The food bribery and stopping more often are good ideas too.  I hadn't thought how long 2 hours would seem to a child that small. 

Offline BrianW

Re: tour with small children
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2012, 11:10:37 am »
We did a two-day overnight tour with our son when he was two (or so) on the C&O Canal. We pulled him in a Burley Solo trailer using our tandem, on which we had front and rear panniers. He didn't complain at all, and actually seemed to enjoy it. Of course, we stopped often to let him play in the dirt with his trucks, run around, etc.

The sooner you get a child in a trailer, the more comfortable he'll be in the long term. Our son loved it! He now rides on the center seat of our triple bike.

Offline granby45

Re: tour with small children
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2012, 01:05:12 pm »
I have a 15 month old and a 3 year old and we are going to tour the Oregon coast this summer.  We are pulling a double chariot and a Weehoo which is similar to a tag a long, but is a recumbent so my 3 year old is sitting upright and doesn't have the responsibility of sitting on a bike sit and hanging on.  There is a 3 point harness on the Weehoo also.  The 3 year old will be able to choose where he wants to ride.  The weehoo mounts on the seatpost, but has plenty of clearance over my rack(I just can't pack on top of the rack). 

Re: tour with small children
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2014, 11:04:21 am »
We have done a ton of touring with our little girl starting at about 1.5 years old. 

She had ridden in a Chariot stroller and is now on the back of my Surly Big Dummy. We done multiple week long trips, with one of the most recent being a trip along the Outer Banks. 

I think the best option is to plan on stopping often for little adventures!  Now that she is out of diapers, we have to cary a ton less stuff, and that is nice.

We also don't tend to camp on our cycling trips, which also makes things a little easier. 

Feel free to email us with questions.



Offline RobbieRoss

Re: tour with small children
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2014, 01:37:04 pm »
My wife and I started taking small 2 and three day tours with our three year old in a burley this year. Next summer she will be four and our big plan is to take four months and slowly cross the country via the norther tier.  I just ordered a weehoo trailer today as we feel the burley will be too closed off and passive for her when she's 4.  The weehoo will have her "out in the world"  a bit more and has pedals.  Not that I really expect her to help up hill, but just the ability to spin her legs a bit makes the experience a bit more active.